Justin Gainey spent 10 years of his life at NC State as a player, working in administration and on the coaching staff. After spending one season as an Assistant Coach at Elon, he recently made the move to Appalachian State University, where he will be an Assistant Coach for Head Coach Jason Capel. Gainey was a four-year starter at NC State and ranks 9th in school history in assists (344) and 4th in steals (190). Recently we had the chance to catch up with Gainey, and allow him to tell us how the transition to Appalachian State has been.
On how he was contacted for the ASU job…
“Coach Capel called me once he got the job at Appalachian State. He wanted me to come join him. I already had an established relationship with Coach Capel because we played high school basketball together for a season back at Greensboro Day. I was a sophomore and he was an 8th grader. He was so good that they allowed him to move up to varsity. We developed a quick bond because we both started at the school at the same time. Since then, we’ve continued a friendship throughout the years. We were able to continue that friendship even through the NC State/UNC rivalry. We’ve always had a good relationship through the years, and because of that, the transition up here has been a lot easier.”
On how his responsibilities have expanded at ASU…
“Coach Capel has made it clear that he is going to lean on everyone on his staff. I’m going to have more responsibilities in the development of the point guards. He’s kind of given me more freedom in that area. One of the biggest reasons for making this move, was because it was a chance for me to get more involved in everything.”
On why he took the job…
“The biggest reason I took this job was because the program has great tradition and history. The facilities were a big upgrade, as well as the support and the backing of the program. I just felt like it was a good move for me and my family. It’s definitely a great situation.”
On how his family is adjusting to the change…
“My family is not coming up here until August 1st. One of my children was still in school in June and we are mostly on the road in July. They are excited and I think it is going to be a good change for them. The community here has really embraced us.”
On what to expect from ASU this upcoming season…
“Last season they won the Northern Division for the third straight season. They made it to the championship game and lost to Wofford, even though they beat Wofford at their place earlier in the season. We are returning 3 starters from last year’s team. Donald Sims, the league’s leading scorer is returning, and he was the AP Player of the Year. We are bringing in a really good recruiting class. We also had two transfer players on the team last season that had to sit out, who came in from the Big South and were All-Conference players. I really think we have a great opportunity to do something special next season. These guys are really focused and they have their eyes set on winning the whole thing and going to the NCAA tournament.”
On what it is like to work with someone you already have a relationship with…
“It’s really special for us to be able to work together, already having the relationship that we have. We both know that we have the same goal in mind, and that is to be successful and to win as many games as we can. It’s great to be working with Coach. He’s young and energetic. He’s very involved in every aspect of the program.”
On how he and Capel played together back at Greensboro Day…
“The one season that we played together at Greensboro Day, we played pretty well. We won the Little Four Tournament, which is a big tournament in Greensboro. We beat Dudley in the championship, which was a huge game. We both earned all-tournament honors in that one. Then we made it to the state championship game and lost, but he was unable to play. They came up with some rule at the end of the season saying everyone on the team had to be in high school. In the end, we had a lot of success playing together that season. I think we only lost 3 or 4 games all season long.”
The last thing that Gainey asked in our conversation, was that we continue to follow him. He wants the Wolfpack Nation to follow and support the Appalachian State Mountaineers. We promised him that we would do our part, by providing updated coverage on ASU throughout the basketball season. Support one of your own Wolfpack fans, and pull for ASU this upcoming season!
Justin Gainey Named Associate Head Coach at Marquette
Former NC State Point Guard Justin Gainey (1997-00) has been hired by Marquette as their Associate Head Coach, serving along head coach Steve Wojciechowski, the former Duke point guard.
“We are excited to welcome Justin and the Gainey family back to Marquette,” Wojciechowski said. “Justin is one of the nation’s top rising coaches and his talents, ability to build meaningful relationships and myriad of experiences alongside some of the game’s best teachers will serve our program, and most importantly our players, incredibly well.” (Link)
This isn’t Gainey’s first stint at Marquette, serving as Director of Operations from 2014-17. The past two seasons, Gainey served as an Assistant Coach with Sean Miller at Arizona. Prior to that, he served as an Assistant Coach at Santa Clara for one season with his former head coach at NC State, Herb Sendek.
Gainey’s coaching career began at NC State, where he served as Director of Operations for three seasons (2006-09), and then he went on to work at Appalachian State and Elon as well.
Dennis Smith Jr. Showing Love to Fayetteville in the Midst of Covid-19
Former NC State Freshman of the Year Dennis Smith Jr. never forgets where he came from. The New York Knicks Point Guard is always showing love for Fayetteville, North Carolina.
According to Ian Begley, DSJ is providing food vouchers for 575 first responders at Cape Fear Valley Medical Center, and 32 computers for local students in Fayetteville.
Here’s a quote from Dennis Smith Jr. on his donation: “Fayetteville and basketball have given so much to me…. I wanted to show support for the real heroes during these tragic times – the first responders.” Smith Jr.’s full quote, via the Knicks, is here: https://t.co/EtvF1LhVKh pic.twitter.com/G1RpvhGTjF
— Ian Begley (@IanBegley) March 27, 2020
Andrew Knizner Enters 2020 as the #6 Prospect in the Cardinals Organization
Former NC State Catcher Andrew Knizner enters the 2020 season ranked as the #6 prospect in the Cardinals organization.
Knizner was drafted in the 7th round by St. Louis in 2016, and was called up for the 1st time to the Big Leagues last year, when Yadier Molina was placed on the disabled list.
The jump wasn’t an easy one, with Knizner hitting .226 in 18 games.
Despite some time in the Majors at the end of last season, Knizner will begin 2020 in Triple-A Memphis, where he has already played 83 games, hitting .283.
Cardinals legend Molina is back to full strength, and backup Matt Wieters was signed to a 1-year deal, meaning it’s not quite time for Knizner.
Will Wilson Enters 2020 as the #10 Prospect in the Giants Organization
Former NC State All-American Shortstop Will Wilson will is entering the 2020 baseball season ranked as the #10 prospect in the San Francisco Giants organization.
After being drafted by the Angels with the 15th overall pick in the MLB Draft last year, Wilson hit .275 in 46 games of Rookie ball with the Orem Owlz.
In December, the Angels traded him to the Giants.
In his final season at NC State, Wilson led the team with a .335 batting average, 20 doubles, 16 home runs and a .661 slugging percentage, and finished eighth all-time in career doubles (57) and homers (39), and ninth in total bases (409).
Wilson is the 3rd highest draft pick in NC State history, and only the 2nd batter to be drafted in the 1st round, alongside another shortstop who is currently in the league as well: Trea Turner.
According to MLB.com, Wilson is expected to make it to the Majors in 2022.